(a) Determination of counsel's compensation.
The court must determine the reasonable sum for compensation and expenses for counsel appointed to represent the child in a family law proceeding, and the ability of the parties to pay all or a portion of counsel's compensation and expenses.
(1) The court must set the compensation for the child's counsel:
(A) At the time of appointment;
(B) At the time the court determines the parties' ability to pay; or
(C) Within a reasonable time after appointment.
(2) No later than 30 days after counsel is relieved as attorney of record, the court may make a redetermination of counsel's compensation:
(A) On the court's own motion;
(B) At the request of a party or a party's counsel; or
(C) At the request of counsel for the child.
(b) Determination of ability to pay.
The court must determine the respective financial ability of the parties to pay all or a portion of counsel's compensation.
(1) Before determining the parties' ability to pay:
(A) The court should consider factors such as the parties' income and assets reasonably available at the time of the determination, and eligibility for or existence of a fee waiver under Government Code section 68511.3; and
(B) The parties must have on file a current Income and Expense Declaration (form FL-150) or Financial Statement (Simplified) (form FL-155).
(2) The court should determine the parties' ability to pay:
(A) At the time counsel is appointed;
(B) Within 30 days after appointment; or
(C) At the next subsequent hearing.
(3) No later than 30 days after counsel is relieved as attorney of record, the court may redetermine the parties' ability to pay:
(A) On the court's own motion; or
(B) At the request of counsel or the parties.
(c) Payment to counsel.
(1) If the court determines that the parties have the ability to pay all or a portion of the fees, the court must order that the parties pay in any manner the court determines to be reasonable and compatible with the parties' financial ability, including progress or installment payments.
(2) The court may use its own funds to pay counsel for a child and seek reimbursement from the parties.
(3) The court must inform the parties that the failure to pay fees to the appointed counsel or to the court may result in the attorney or the court initiating legal action against them to collect the money.
(d) Parties' inability to pay.
If the court finds that the parties are unable to pay all or a portion of the cost of the child's counsel, the court must pay the portion the parties are unable to pay.
Rule 5.241 adopted effective January 1, 2008.